What do doctors do when they’ve got a cold coming on?

Susannah Hickling 30 November -0001

What do the professionals do when they start with the sniffles? Do they stifle them, relax, drug themselves up? We asked a number of experts how they fend off seasonal ailments.

Dr Peter Swinyard, GP in Swindon and chairman of the Family Doctor Association:

“Inevitably my patients are very generous in sharing their winter viruses and I usually catch a cold at some stage. “I generally just press on at work as usual, moan loudly to anyone who’ll listen, take some paracetamol and (when totally bunged up) some Sinex nose spray for a couple of days. There’s no point intaking antibiotics as they make absolutely no difference.” 

Professor Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre, Cardiff University:

“When I feel a cold coming on I sip a hot, tasty drink such as a blackcurrant cordial. This type of drink provides relief from cold symptoms and promotes salivation and nasal mucus secretions that may help to trap viruses.” 

Sultan Dajani, Andoverbased community pharmacist and Royal Pharmaceutical Society spokesperson:

“As I’m an  independent practitioner with no second pharmacist on call, I can’t afford sick days. Luckily, I haven’t had any since I started seven years ago! “Unfortunately, you can’t cure a cold. The only treatment is symptom control. I increase fluid intake by eating soups and drinking water because colds can leave  you dehydrated. I also eat steamed foods, which are easily digested, and I get plenty of rest. A good diet helps fight lethargy and strengthen the immune system.”

Dr Mehmood Syed, medical director, Bupa Home Healthcare:

“I find over-the-counter products that combine both ibuprofen (which reduces inflammation) and pseudoephedrine, such as Nurofen Cold and Flu, really help my symptoms. Pseudoephedrine works to clear blocked sinuses by reducing blood flow to the nose lining, though people with severe coronary heart disease or very high blood pressure should consult their GP before using it."